Principals focus more on students during classroom observations

06/24/2013 | Washington Post (tiered subscription model), The

A national shift in evaluating teachers based on students' achievement -- rather than their own training and education -- also has led to a change in how some classroom observations are conducted, with the emphasis now on how students are learning instead of on what teachers say. For example, Matthew Phythian, the principal at Bull Run Middle School in Gainesville, Va., said that five years ago he would track how many times a teacher used the word "okay," but now he is talking to students to see what they have learned and observing how they listen, pay attention and interact with their friends.

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